How to
Be Vocal
For Yourself

“It took me a long time to realize that it’s okay to not be okay. Once I accepted that bipolar disorder was a part of me, I stopped letting it define me.”
Chyler Leigh, Actor and Advocate

Tips For Speaking Up

It may seem like a challenge at times, but it can help to be vocal about your experience. Often, speaking up can help you partner with a support team and find the treatment plan that works best for you. With an engaged and holistic approach to your health, it can be possible to live well. Consider these tips when speaking up in different environments including at home, in the workplace and with members of your professional support team.12

Telling those around you that you’re living with a mental health condition can be helpful. It can also seem intimidating. To make the process easier, be prepared. Get more information on how to approach talking with friends, family, coworkers and romantic partners.

Advocating for your mental health in the workplace can be an important factor in living well. A key step is understanding what resources are available to help support a healthy work experience.

Being informed and playing an active role in your mental health care is important. If you’re visiting a mental health professional for the first time, consider asking these questions at your first appointment to decide if this healthcare professional will work for you.


To speak more comprehensively with your health care professional about your specific treatment, think about using these questions.

Partnering With Your Professional Support Team

"People need to speak up about what they want for mental health care. They also need to be partners with their doctors and others in their support teams in making choices. Personalized plans using holistic approaches are always the best."

Ken Duckworth, M.D., medical director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness and an assistant clinical professor at Harvard University Medical School
Portrait of Dr. Ken Duckworth

Additional Resources

Living well with mental health conditions is an ongoing process. Below are some resources and tips to assist you.

Working Toward Wellness

Whether it is getting enough sleep or connecting with others, there are a few things you can try to do on a regular basis to help you live well, such as:13

Connect with others

Give back to your community

Eat well

Stay positive

Get enough sleep

Take care of yourself

Become physically active

Create joy and satisfaction

Get professional help if you need it

  1. Mental Health America. Get Professional Health if You Need it. [Internet]. Available from: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/get-professional-help-if-you-need-it.. Accessed January 26, 2015 (To Access: Home, Living Well, Live Your Life Well, Ten Tools, Professional Help If You Need It).
  2. Mental Health America. Ten Tools. [Internet]. Available from: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/ten-tools.. Accessed March 9, 2015 (To Access: Home, Living Well, Live Your Life Well, Ten Tools).